People may recognize the high salaries of certain jobs but never consider them as careers. Their reasons for not wanting these jobs can range from excessive job stress to deeming the job less than glamorous. Education and qualifications for the best-paying jobs that nobody wants also vary. Some require post-graduate degrees and others just high school diplomas. Whether you are just starting out in the workforce or are an experienced job seeker, you might want to take a second look at some of these careers because of the high pay they command.
Air Traffic Controllers
High stress and the responsibility of saving people's lives may prevent some people from pursuing air traffic control jobs. Air traffic controllers issue takeoff and landing instructions to pilots and monitor planes on radar screens. They also keep pilots apprised of weather updates and closed runways and alert airport response teams during emergencies. Most earn two- or four-year degrees in programs under the Air Traffic Collegiate Training Initiative, and then train for two to five months at the Federal Aviation Administration's Academy in Oklahoma City, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The average salary for an air traffic controller was $122,410 a year as of 2016. The BLS estimates a 9 percent decline in employment for air traffic controllers from 2014 to 2024. Federal budget constraints may limit job opportunities in this field.
It's not coincidental that many funeral homes have been family-owned for generations. It takes a special combination of compassion and composure to become a funeral director. Funeral directors plan funerals for the bereaved, embalm the bodies, organize services, coordinate the decoration at burial services and arrange for the printing of obituaries and death certificates. The minimum educational requirement for this job is an associate degree in mortuary science. Training usually lasts one to three years. The average yearly salary for a funeral director was $54,830 in 2016, according to the BLS. The BLS forecasts a 5 percent increase in jobs for funeral directors between 2014 and 2024, largely based on increases in expected deaths.
Gastroenterologists perform colorectal exams and colonoscopies, so the job will probably turn off a lot of people who aren't comfortable examining certain body parts or analyzing certain bodily functions. These physicians help patients diagnose diseases of the stomach, esophagus, small intestines, colon, bile ducts and liver. They also treat people for peptic ulcers and heartburn, a common ailment among older Americans. Like most physicians, gastroenterologists must complete a four-year bachelor's degree in any major and four years of medical school, and then train as residents for three years. Before their residencies, they must also take and pass the U.S. Medical Licensing Board of Medicine examination to get licensed in their states. Gastroenterologists earned $348,000 on average in 2013, according to the Medscape Gastroenterology Compensation Report. The BLS reports that jobs for all physicians and surgeons are expected to increase 18 percent from 2012 to 2022, an above-average rate due to population increases among baby boomers and elderly Americans, who will need more medical treatments.
Commissioned Sales Representative
Many people are averse to working on a straight commission because they are used to getting a regular paycheck. Commissioned sales reps, on the other hand, only get paid when they make and collect on sales. This means many of them face peaks and valleys in their earnings, which people don't like. Commissioned sales reps work in a variety of jobs, from real estate agents and car salesmen to manufacturing reps. In 2014, commissioned sales reps earned average incomes of $76,000 a year, according to the Indeed job site. Some commissioned sales jobs only require high school diplomas, while others require a bachelor's degree in business. One sales occupation with high pay is that of sales engineer, which the BLS says involves selling "complex scientific and technological products or services to businesses." Some of these jobs are commission only. The median annual wage for sales engineers was $91,830 as of May 2012.